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whereof ve are now ashained; for the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto boliness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eterpal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The 15th chapter of the 1st epistle of the Corinthians is principally devoted to the support of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead on the hypothesis that “as in Adam all die,even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The hearer is earnestly solicited to read this chapter with peculiar attentention, by which he will perceive that the Apostle did not believe in a state of sin and misery after the resurrection, but a glorious state of life and immortality. The consummation of this transcendent event the inspired author imforms us is the fulfilment of our subject. “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallow. ed up in victory." -Lastly, “ And the Lord God shall wipe away tears from off all faces : and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth ; for the Lord hath spoken it." Here the prophet presents us with the most moving scene that ever imagination could invent, or language describe. He represents the Father of our spirits as throwing away forever the rod of correction; and approaching his humble, penitent weeping children, and with the pitying hand of parental love wiping away the tears his fatherly severity had caused to flow. · To conclude, our subject and doctrine may be improved in the following manner.
As God is recommended to be impartially good to the whole human family, ordering and directing all things for the advancement of our happiness, he is worthy of our unfeigned love and gratitude ; and the dre consideration of this weighty truth imposes on us all the great and rational duty of conform, ing our minds, affections and conduct to this benevolent doctrine. Though the opposers of this grace of universal salvation have so far misunderstood the subject, as to represent it as tending to licentiousness, we are fully convinced that no other doctrine is a safe foundation on which to build a moral character, or by which we can become conformed to the religion of Jesus, which embraces love to our enemies. It seems as vain as it is absurd to attempt to cultivate universal love and good will towards mankind by enforcing on the mind partial and limited views of the goodness of God. But having this divine and glorious foundation firmly fixed in our understandings, let us remember with proper caution, that“ the grace of God which bringeth salvation to all inen hath appeared, teacbing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present.world.”
As the rich provisions of the gospel of everlasting life are made for all people, as all are most tenderly and cordially invited to partake of the blessed fruit of the tree of life, let us all strive in earn. est to understand and know the truth as it is in JeSus. Let us feast on the divine truth revealed in the faithful word. Why should reasonable crea. tures, blessed with such powers of investigation, and capable of enjoying such intellectual dainties, lie supinely and feed on wind, on vanity, on lies, and roll falsehood and the gall of error and superstition as a sweet morsel under their tongues ? Come away from all the partial schemes of the wisdom of this world, leave behind you all the broken cisterns hewn out by man's invention, which can hold no water, and come to the fountain of living waters. Have you endeavoured to satisfy your souls with the polluted bread of a heaven where you must look
down and see your fellow creatures in endless torments ? Where you must hear the ceaseless groans of fathers, mothers, wives, children and other dear relatives? Have you strove to conform yourselves to these abominations ? O hear the language of our text, and let your hearts rejoice in the God of our salvation. “In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.”
DELIVERED AT THE SECOND UNIVERSALIST MEETING, IN BOSTON,
OCTOBER 25, 1818.
BY HOSEA BALLOU, PASTOR:
Published Semi-Monthly, by Henry Bowen, Devonshire-street.
MALACHI, iy. 1. . For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oren ; and all the
proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble ; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leare Them neither root nor branch.”
This portion of prophetic testimony having been generally used to support the awful, terrific doctrine of future endless misery, and being now brought as an objection to a belief in the divine goodness to all men, is the occasion of the request which has called our attention to this subject at this time.
As we have consented to discuss this text in this evening's discourse, a hope is entertained that the audience will feel such an interest in the investigation as will occasion a most devout and religious attention. If the Holy Ghost, by these words, intended to inform us that it is the divine determination not to humble the proud nor reform those who do wickedly, but to execute upon them endless toriure, no doubt it is necessary for us so to understand these and other words of divine inspiration ; but if these words were designed to indicate the reduction of the proud to bumility, and the reformation of those who do wickedly, it is of importance that we so understand then. Let us, therefore, carefully examine the text under consideration to see if its most natural meaning is, that all the proud and all that do wickedly are to be tormented eternally in a fire that shall burn as an oven. If we find that this is the true meaning of this passage, we must admit it as evidence of the truth of the terrific doctrine to which it is usually applied, and as a refutation of the doctrine of universal salvation by Jesus Christ. Furthermore, if the common use of this text be adınitted, we must reasonably suppose, that this doctrine is the doctrine of the holy scriptures generally.
Let us look at the text. « For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble : and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave thein neither root nor branch.” If this language is to be understood according to its inost literal sense it ineans that all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be burnt up as stubble is cousumed that is burned in an oven. There will remain of the proud and tlie wicked neither root nor branch. To use a simile ; we will suppose that it is said of a tree, that the fire has consumed it, root and branch; would any reasonable person understand that the tree now exists? No, they would not. Now if the tree do not exist, it surely does not continue to burn. The conclusion then is this ; if the proud and those who do wickedly are literally burnt up, they will cease to exist, and of course, they will cease to be tormented. It would be just as reasonable to contend, that John Rogers is now burning in the fire that consumed him, as to apply our text to prove the endless torinents of the wicked.
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